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Biochemistry. 1995 Mar 21;34(11):3832-40.

Structurally diverse chitolipooligosaccharide nod factors accumulate primarily in membranes of wild type Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar trifolii.

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Department of Microbiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing 48824.


The general view on Rhizobium chitolipooligosaccharides (CLOS) is that they are made in very low levels as diffusible molecules and are primarily secreted by the bacteria into the extracellular milieu where they interact with the host. However, the structural and predicted physicochemical properties of these amphiphilic molecules led us to postulate that they should normally be targeted to bacterial membranes after synthesis. Thus, we analyzed membrane lipid extracts of Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. trifolii wild-type strain ANU843 cells and the corresponding culture supernatants for CLOS-type glycolipids. As predicted, fractionation of the membrane extracts from pelleted cells led to the isolation of a diverse family of CLOS in high yield (> or = 15 mg/L of culture), whereas all attempts to isolate CLOS from the corresponding culture supernatant failed. Structural analyses reveal that the membrane CLOS of ANU843 consist of a complex mixture of O-acetylated or non-O-acetylated chito- tri-, -tetra-, and pentasaccharides bearing an N-acyl moiety at the nonreducing glucosamine residue. cis-Vaccenic acid was the predominant acyl substituent (> 70%), but several other saturated, unsaturated, and 3-hydroxy fatty acids were found in the CLOS glycolipids. Membrane accumulation of CLOS in ANU843 is promoted by the presence of 4',7-dihydroxyflavone and pSym nod genes. Potential host-selective biological activity host-selective biological activity of the purified membrane CLOS fraction from ANU843 was indicated by its ability to elicit meristems resembling rudimentary nodule primordia in the root cortex of axenic seedlings of the host legume, white clover, but not of the nonhost legumes hairy vetch or alfalfa.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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